GGD to schedule additional vaccinations to use up AstraZeneca stock
André Rouvoet, chairman of the GGD, has told NOS that groups who are not yet due to be vaccinated against coronavirus are being called up to book an appointment in order to use up additional doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine (Vaxzevria).
GGD wants to use up AstraZeneca doses as soon as possible
Earlier this week, the Dutch government and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) revealed that, despite plans to seriously scale up vaccination capacity across the Netherlands, around 280.000 people were vaccinated. Of the 100.000 AstraZeneca doses that were available for appointments, only 36.000 appointments were actually booked.
The RIVM said that not enough people had taken up their opportunity to get the jab, likely because of the concerns about potential side effects of Vaxzevria. But Rouvoet has said the unused stock will not go to waste, as the GGD is now calling up people who are lower down on the vaccination priority list.
“The available vaccines just have to be used as soon as possible," says Rouvoet. “If we can play an extra role in that, then we are happy to do so. Nobody has an interest in vaccines being left unnecessarily on the shelf." According to him, there are over 135.000 Vaxzevria ready to be used, and the GGD can vaccinate one million people per week. The RIVM and the Ministry of Health will be responsible for deciding which groups will be called up for vaccination earlier than planned.
Coronavirus vaccination in the Netherlands
Vaccination against coronavirus in the Netherlands has been off to a relatively slow start. Approximately 2,5 million people have received at least one jab since the first vaccination on January 6. Most people working in healthcare have been vaccinated, as have residents in care homes and care institutions.
Hundreds of thousands of people over the age of 75 have also received at least one dose, and the first 73- and 74-year-olds received their vaccination invitations this week. The Dutch government is hopeful that as temperatures rise and as the most vulnerable members of the population are vaccinated, coronavirus restrictions will be lifted.